Thursday, May 1, 2008

Serenity Prayer for Candidates

On this National Day of Prayer, I am reminded of one of my favorites: the serenity prayer, invoked by 12-step participants and people of many faiths:

God, Grant me the Serenity to Accept the things I cannot change, the Courage to change the things I can, and the Wisdom to know the difference

During wabbit hunting, er, election season, candidates face two kinds of challenges: things beyond their control (serenity) and things that need changing (courage).

Barack Obama is young. He can’t control the fact that he has less experience than either of the other candidates, but he should be held responsible for the votes he cast and actions he took (or didn’t take). He can’t control the words or sentiments of his ex-pastor, but he can control how and when he responds to them. (Despite his eloquence, a passionate speech 20 years into their relationship just doesn’t undo that history for most Americans.)

Hillary Clinton can’t control the fact that her husband is a polarizing figure who permanently tarnished the Presidency because he couldn’t keep his pants on. But she shouldn’t be judged on that: voters should consider her own Senate record, values and level of sincerity she demonstrates on the campaign trail.

John McCain is old, and has been known to get mad a few times in his 26-year career. He couldn’t stop all wasteful spending in Congress, but he did hold his colleagues accountable for what they spent – and led by example, taking $0 in pork himself. He can’t get everyone in the country to agree with him, but he can work for effective compromises and solutions – a rare ability among Washington politicians.

When considering who to vote for this year, consider this: who has done the best job with the things they could control: their words, actions, and votes? Who is being candid with America, and who has the integrity to take responsibility for their mistakes? Who has the courage to speak up against injustice not with flowery speeches but with accountability and action?

The choice is clear: John McCain.

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